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Demanding and Enforcing High Expectations in Freshman Courses
This article describes the results of an experiment in which high school graduates were enrolled in two summer science courses with extremely high goals. Rationale for this study was partly to evaluate the reasons for student attrition in physical sciences and partly to test the idea that setting high expectations results in better outcomes. In one instance, some of the students who attended a field geology course went on to major in geology (although none intended to at the outset) and to become successful faculty and practicing geologists. Students in the other course, a seminar on life on Mars, combined their term papers into a single class-manuscript for the Journal of Geoscience Education, which recieved mixed reviews. These experiments demonstrate that, regardless of perceived competence, entering freshmen can be motivated and activated to achieve elevated standards of learning through high expectations that include supportive climate and specifically spelled out steps for critical thinking.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Graduate / Professional
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Journal article
  • Educational theory and practice
Technical requirements:
Adobe Acrobat reader
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
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DLESE Catalog ID: EVAL-TLKT-000-000-000-143
Related resources:
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Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)
Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE)

Author: Abhijit Basu
Department of Geological Sciences
Indiana University

Author: Joan Middendorf
Campus Instructional Consulting
Indiana University